TEC: Chapter 10 and Chapter 11: Switcheroo
Oh, Bob Phillips, why do you play me this way? Here I was all set to see each chapter in Europa matched in the same chapter in Ararat, as proof of the paint-by-number nature of these books, and now you go and switch things up on me!
See, Chapter 10 in Ararat is another ark lecture, and Chapter 11 catches us up with Talon. It’s the reverse in Europa.
And Europa’s Chapter 10 is utterly useless, as Talon makes his way back to the Seven (they’ll stop at nothing!). There’s a bit of the typical Big Bad “we don’t tolerate failures!” posturing, but they actually kinda do tolerate failures, as they keep Talon on the job.
And what is this job, exactly? Well, it’s to eliminate Murphy. (They refer to Talon’s failure to kill Murphy in the avalanche a “mistake.”)
But why the hell is Murphy so impossible to kill? They could literally just shoot him any day of the week, coming out of his house.
But this isn’t even the hot issue, as far as the Seven are concerned. Instead, they now want Talon’s top priority to be the murder of the senile old man from the newspaper article, who talked about the End Times. Because that’s the best possible use of the world’s greatest assassin.
Meanwhile, the World’s Greatest Impossible to Kill Professor is keeping himself safe from master assassins by giving another open lecture (Stephanie is in attendance again, though without her cameraman this time) at his small-town college. Surely Talon could never invade such a stronghold as this!
Murphy actually has some facts to relay about ancient Babylon this time, about how awesome their math and stuff was. He also snidely mentions their divination practices, “superstition” which is totally different from using ancient religious texts to figure out when the world will end.
But Murphy can’t even let it go at that. He talks about God’s warnings, like when he warned Noah about the flood and “warned” Belshazzar about a judgment of God by making his grandfather go insane (???).
“Isn’t it strange that we do the same thing today? God gives us warnings. He pleads with us and confronts us. You may ask, ‘How does He do this?’ He does this through the still small voice of our conscience. Our conscience tells us what is right and what is wrong.”
Wow. Yanno, take out the God-does-our-conscience part, and this is basically atheist morality. We all have a conscience (well, okay, most humans do) and it tells us what is right and wrong. The only difference is that I don’t think, as Murphy does, that God uses our brains as a sort of antenna. Murphy is skirting dangerously close to the idea that atheists can be moral persons—careful there, bud!
Is this man at all capable of giving a lecture on archaeology without it turning into a sermon? Because it hasn’t happened once yet!